Football: Belmont Drains SpyPonders, 17-14, on Final Play Field Goal

Photo: It’s good as Aidan Cadogan (#3) is congratulated after hitting the winning points vs. Arlington.

After the final whistle blew, a person on the sidelines said, “Belmont doesn’t win games like this.”

It does now.

A 31-yard field goal by junior kicker Aidan Cadogan splitting the uprights on the final play of the game gave the Belmont High Marauders a thrilling 17-14 victory over Arlington High in a Middlesex League football matchup before a large, boisterous crowd at Belmont’s Harris Field under the Friday night lights, Sept. 23.

“I’m just so proud of our guys. They live what we preach; ‘Big Play, Next Play’, ‘Livin’ in the Reap.’ All credit is due to them. I just call the play, and they go out and execute it,” said Belmont third year head coach Yann Kumin.

“It’s a new era,” said Ben Jones, the team’s workhorse who smashed 200 rushing yards for the game.

“Coach Q started it, my brother [Max Jones] started it, everyone started it who was before us. We couldn’t have done this without them. This is a new Belmont,” he said.

Belmont is currently 2-1 and 1-1 in the Middlesex League with a two-game winning streak.

On the final drive of the game as the Marauders’ was driving down the field in the closing three minutes, kicker Cadogan said he was thinking “just get it in field goal position and the team did and I’m just excited to hit the field goal.”

As he was preparing for the kick, Arlington called a timeout in an attempt to “freeze” the junior. “Normally I don’t really get iced, that’s just me. When they tried it, I said, ‘I’m going to hit this!'”

For the second consecutive week, the night’s star was senior back Jones who carried the ball 40 times for 242 yards and running in both of Belmont’s touchdowns.

“I was able to do this is because of the [offensive] line. They’ve given me holes, given me places to run,” Jones the Belmontonian outside the White Field House after the game.

“We just kept pounding it down their throats and they couldn’t stop us,” Jones said, who has scored seven touchdowns and gained 576 yards in the past two games.

“It’s just keeping up with the Jones’. That’s all we’re trying to do,” said Kumin.

The game did not start out as planned as Arlington’s junior running back Alijah Woods took the ball on the game’s third play 54 yards down the sideline to Belmont’s 6.

But on the next four plays, Belmont’s defense stood firm – led by Adam Deese, Dennis Crowley and Ryan Noone – halting the SpyPonders on Belmont’s two-yard line.

For most of the night, the preferred option was only given Jones the ball and let him pick up four, five or six yards a carry. Mixing up the plays, QB Cal Christofori hit receiver Dylan Ferdinand down the middle for 32 yard to the Arlington 33. But as Belmont was preparing to score, they lost a fumble at the 8. But two plays later, they recovered an Arlington miscue leading to Jones scoring with 12 seconds remaining in the first quarter. 

Despite having the ball for most of the second quarter, Belmont could not convert. But Arlington did in spectacular fashion. After punting with 30 seconds left in the half, Arlington’s junior Jaden Dottin took a slant pass from sophomore QB Adam Bowler and simply outran the Belmont defensive back to score with 20 seconds left in the half to tie up the game at 7.

If Arlington was hoping its fast strike would shift the momentum, it simply wasn’t coming this time in Belmont. Getting the ball to start the second half, QB Cal Christofori handed the ball off to Jones who would pick up five to seven yards with each carry, ending when Jones went to his favorite right side and popped into the end zone to give Belmont a 14-7 lead.

“Arlington’s a tough team, but I think we are a little bit tougher. We have been preaching that all season. We want to be the hardest hitting team by far and they felt it and that’s why we went took the lead,” said Jones.

But Belmont enjoyed the lead for a mere 20 seconds when senior John Nascimento ran the kickoff – which was pushed back due to a knocking the kickoff out-of-bounds – down the right sideline 70 yards for the equalizing TD.

The remainder of the game until the final drive was each defense took charge. Belmont’s Tyler Reynolds knocked away a 40 yard pass from Bowler to Dottin that would have given Arlington the ball deep in Marauders territory with three minutes remaining. 

The last drive, with only 2:17 left in the game, saw a trio of big plays: a pitch to Jones who rounded the left side for 28 yards to the Arlington 37, a quarterback sneak by Christofori on fourth down to the SpyPonder’s 23 with 23 seconds left and dump pass from a scrambling Christofori to junior fullback Adam Deese who hugged the slideline going out on the 8 with only five ticks on the scoreboard.

“Adam just popped out of his protection and gave [Christofori] an outlet and that abled us to get down inside the 10 [yard line]. We got the best kicker in the Middlesex [League], and he proved that for us tonight,” said Kumin

After Cadogan hit the ball through the uprights – the kick would have been good from 40 plus yards – all that needed to be confirmed with the end of the game which came after half a minute of discussion from the refs. The whistle blew and the celebration commenced.  

“Ask me when it becomes real. It’s not real!” said an ecstatic Kumin, who high-stepped across the field after the traditional handshake a-la Michael Flatley.

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